The e-commerce giant has just created a new laboratory dedicated to healthcare technologies.
Amazon is hoping to become a major player in the healthcare industry with the creation of a secret laboratory called 1492, according to Futurism.com. This project involves developing applications for Amazon hardware, like Echo, that would enable it to provide data services for patients as well as doctors.
Numerous advances in the healthcare industry
Amazon has made a name for itself as a market leader in both the retail and the digital industries. Using these strengths, the e-commerce giant is now looking to become a key player in the healthcare industry – a sector worth 3 trillion dollars – thanks to its 1492 laboratory, whose name seemingly refers to the year Christopher Columbus discovered America.
Sources close to the project revealed to CNBC that the lab is based in Seattle. Its director, Jeff Bezos, has already officially spoken about two tools, Alexa and Echo, which would be aimed at both patients and healthcare professionals. Bezos also announced that Amazon was focusing on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Amazon is currently looking for new talent to join its teams: CNBC reported that the positions of UX Designer and Machine Learning Director had been posted under "a1.492" and "The Amazon Grand Challenge a.k.a. 'Special Projects' team".
A better world of healthcare?
This new secret healthcare project would be developed using Amazon's expertise in the fields of machine learning and data analysis, and also using the Alexa AI, which some doctors already use. We do not yet know if Amazon is going to offer other medical services: the firm did not wish to respond to CNBC's questions and has not yet made any official announcements regarding this subject.
Through its 1492 project, Amazon might envisage developing a platform that would make it easier to access patients' medical files, perhaps something similar to Google's DeepMind Health. The data might be accessible via Echo or other Amazon systems. The secret laboratory might also develop applications for these systems, as well as a telemedicine system to connect doctors and patients.
Amazon is currently working on other projects in parallel to 1492: CNBC reported cloud services for hospitals, which are currently in development thanks to Amazon Web Services, as well as investment in a Silicon Valley start-up called Grail, which specialises in early cancer diagnosis.
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